The Restaurant That Gives Surplus Food a Second Life [Q&A]

At the Instock restaurants, nothing goes to waste

Sep 1, 2017
A food truck of the instock restaurant stands by the street

Instock can be found in various cities across the Netherlands and on the road. (Lynn Meijer/Instock)

An innovative Dutch restaurant called Instock is working to solve the issue of food waste and raise awareness around it, by creating delicious dishes using food that would otherwise go to waste.

Each morning, Instock’s drivers wake up before stores open and collect unsold food items. The products, all of which meet food safety guidelines, are then turned into fantastic meals that are sold at the various Instock locations.

In this week’s 10 Good Questions, Goodnet spoke to Instock’s Community Manager Djaja van den Berg to hear all about what drives the organization, and how it hopes to put an end to food waste.

1. WHAT IS YOUR ORGANIZATION’S MISSION?

One third of the food in our world is wasted. Our mission is to reduce food waste and create awareness of the issue. We take on this challenge quite literally by using products that would otherwise remain unsold. Moreover, we believe that awareness should be raised in a positive and fun way. Food is all about enjoyment after all! We have noticed that we’ve gotten more out of touch with the food we eat in the last decades.

With all the facilities that the present-day has to offer, we don’t need to put much effort into our meals anymore. There’s enough food and plenty of choice. Our goal is to make people value food more in several ways: through a good dining experience in one of our restaurants, via our masterclasses, and by selling products like our cook book Instock Cooking and our craft beers Pieper Bier and Bammetjes Bier.

2. WHAT MAKES YOU GUYS DIFFERENT FROM THE REST?

Instock creates delicious meals out of surplus food. Instock is the first and only restaurant that works this way. Food waste is often related to donating food to, for example, the food bank. This is very good, and we only encourage such initiatives, but there is so much more waste than can be donated. In addition, solving this problem asks for a professional logistic approach. Therefore, we believe in creating value that creates a new earnings model according to the ciculair economy. We empower people to join our cause by simply enjoying the harvest of the day. By doing so they don’t just save food, but also change their perception toward food.

3. WHAT THREE WORDS DESCRIBE YOUR ORGANIZATION?

Creative, Conscious, Empowering

4. WHAT INSPIRES YOU?

About thirty to fifty percent of all our food is wasted. Food waste is not just about the loss of money; in the process of packaging, transporting, cooling and preparing the food, a great deal of effort is spoiled as well. This is a huge environmental burden! This frustation became an inspiration to find solutions and keep finding solutions to tackle this problem.

5. WHO'S YOUR FAVORITE GOOD DOER FIGURE?

Willemijn Verloop is a Dutch peace activist dedicated to children affected by war. She founded War Child in 1993, an organization dedicated to helping children process their war experiences. She is the also the founder and director for Social Enterprise NL a platform for growing the Social enterprise sector in The Netherlands. A platform which was founded in 2012.

6. WHAT IS THE BEST PART ABOUT YOUR JOB?

What is not to love? Best part is being a Food Rescuer and contributing to a social mission! I personally love thinking of creative content, launch new products and events with creative campaigns to attract more food rescuers to our Instock restaurants. I get to announce our mission to anyone who wants to hear it. Great!

7. HOW DO YOU MEASURE SUCCESS WITHIN YOUR ORGANIZATION?

We count the amount of kilo's of food we rescue (this ofcourse translates to the amount of people eating and drinking at our restaurants).

8. FACEBOOK OR TWITTER? 

We use both, but Facebook is a medium that creates more engagement with our community.

9. WHAT DO YOU WANT GOODNET USERS TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR ORGANIZATION?

We would like to focus ourselves more on using residual products. Our restaurants are a way to do this, but we’ve set a bigger goal. We hope to make other enterprises in the food service industry enthousiastic about using the products that Instock picks up as well.

We are advising several companies – Albert Heijn especially – how to prevent food waste, and how to process unavoidable food waste as good as possible. There are enough high-quality destinations for wastage around. Using the potential of these waste flows to the best of everyone’s ability should be the norm.

In addition, we continue to spread awareness about the issue of food waste by organizing presentations, masterclasses and educational projects; publishing our cook book; and generating attention from the media. Lastly, let’s not forget our Pieper Bier, Bammetjes Bier and Granola. Those are just the first examples of unique products that derived from waste flow. We’ll continue to look for more of these products!

10. HOW CAN PEOPLE GET INVOLVED?

Of course people can pay a visit to one of our restaurants and rescue some food. Next to that you can follow us on social media (Instagram, Facebook and Twitter) or read our website where we provide people with several tips on about how to waste less yourself.

DAVID RUHM, EDITOR & WRITER
David has a passion for languages and words, and loves to see people happy. He writes about inspiring ideas, amazing technologies and all the wonders of the world.

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